Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Tay!

Hey Family!!!!!!!!
     Thanks for your emails!! It was so great to hear from you and I love reading your emails.  Guess what?? I'm 21!!!!!! I don't really feel 21... I didn't even feel 20... I still feel like I just graduated high school like last summer but apparently I have been out of the womb for 21 years now so that's cool. We really didn't do much on my birthday to be honest! Sister Scott "surprised" me with a birthday cake! (haha not really... you can't really keep anything a secret from your companion since you have to be within sight and sound of each other 24/7 so I saw her buy it at the store).  But it was still fun! And THEN when we got home that night I opened my AWESOME birthday package!!! I loved it!!! Thank you so much - it was so cute.  Hahaha I loved all the little boxes you put in with different gifts inside and I shared my cupcakes with my district.  Thank you so much!! OHH and don't let me forget ... THE CARD!!! Hahahahaha the front of it alone was hilarious - thank you so much!! I really loved my package and everything in it and I really appreciate it - you are all amazing!! Also! So you know how we were trying to see how many lessons we could get this week? Well we didn't get anywhere close to 70 or anything BUT we got 23 which is more than we have gotten before!! PLUS we found 4 new investigators this week!!! AND we got more lessons than the Elders in our ward so that's good too.  We are having another competition this week and the winner gets a gallon of chocolate milk (the Elders chose the prize).  Anyway, I will start telling you about my week now!!!
     So on Tuesday we visited this old lady who some Elders tracted into a few years ago.  Her name is Patricia - she's probably in her early 80's and lives in a beautiful home and her husband died a few years ago and you can tell it's really hard for her.  Anyway, we have tried to get in her home for a few weeks now and she always has excuses for why we can't come in.  Things like "Right now, I'm picking out my clothes for the week" "I just sat down to eat" (keep in mind she's pretty old and stuff).  So her excuses are always funny but this time I was just like "can we come and share a short scripture with you? It will only take 5 minutes and then we will let you get back to your day." So she lets us in and she told us about her husband.  They didn't have any children so you could tell they spent a lot of time together and she started crying and so we talked about the plan of salvation a little bit and left her with a pamphlet that briefly talks about it.  And then... about an hour later she finally let us go.  It was so good though.  Before we left she was like "please come back".  She is adorable.  Just a really classy old woman.  We also met with some less active members.  We are working with a lady in the ward who had her name removed years ago but she wants to come back now so we are teaching her the lessons so she can get baptized again.  We also tracted quite a bit and found some really neat people and they all had some kind of connection with Mormons which is always really cool.  We have been using a different approach when we tract lately and it works pretty well!! After we like introduce ourselves and stuff we just say something like "can we share a short scripture with you?" and they pretty much always say sure and so while we are getting out a Book of Mormon, we introduce what it is and then share the scripture with them and it just opens people up to more discussions than usual and it's really cool! One lady we met made a comment on how much it applied to her at this point in her life and it's just really neat to hear things like that.
     Wednesday was my birthday!! That morning we helped out at the food pantry and I was talking to the guy, Ray, who is in charge of it all and I was leaning on like one of those lever/fork lift things that grocery stores use to carry heavy stuff around and I accidentally let the lever go and it landed on his foot!!!! Luckily there wasn't anything heavy on it at the time, just a few boxes, but still I felt so bad!! We were also able to get into a less active members home that multiple ward members have been trying to get in and they told us "don't count on them letting you in".  And they let us in!!!!! It's really sad, they were really active less than a year ago and then apparently they got offended some how and they don't really want anything to do with the church anymore.  Just the wife was home and you could tell she didn't really want us there but we were just so happy we even got in!!!
     On Friday we found 3 new investigators!!! The first one is Katelyn.  She is 22 and has a 9 month old.  She hasn't been very religious for years now because she was always forced into it when she was growing up.  Now, she's on her own and wants something more in her life and she had a lot of questions.  And she literally lives right across the street from the church which is perfect!  She doesn't really know much about God or religion at all and so she wants to learn.  Our next investigator we found was Beth.  She is married, has 2 kids in college and doesn't go to church currently.  We don't really know if she is looking for anything currently but she is interested in learning more about what we believe and I think she's someone who would be able to recognize the importance of it after we talked to her more about the Book of Mormon and stuff.  Before we went in for the night, we found Amy! She was someone Elders tracted into a few years ago and she is currently Lutheran but doesn't always go.  We introduced the Book of Mormon and she has had a ton of connections with Mormons in her past! Her Dad did carpentry for the St. Louis Temple and she had Mormon neighbors and doctors and she always really liked them.  It makes me grateful for whoever the Mormons people met were good examples because it makes such a huge difference in the future!! 
     Oh ya! Hahahaha okay so Friday morning we had district meeting and all the Elders were trying to give us all their Easter candy but we didn't want it either and so we all ended up having a candy war and like throwing it in each others cars or trying to hide it in places we wouldn't see it and Sister Scott and I pretty much lost because they threw it all in our car and then drove off but THEN hahahaha they were behind us at a stop light with their windows rolled down and I gathered all the candy together and ran out of our car and threw it in their car and then the light turned green so they ended up with it.  It was pretty funny.  
     Saturday morning we met with Audre! Throughout the week she had been texting us and she is seriously so amazing.  When she gets bored or has free time during class, she watches mormon messages and the district and things like that.  So we met her at the park in the morning and we brought her a personal progress book and she was so excited about that.  I also gave her a ctr ring and she was so excited.  I think it's just really amazing to me to see how young she is and how interested in the gospel she is.  She wants to get baptized so badly but she knows her parents aren't okay with it right now.  We talked to her about fasting and today she is fasting for some extra help! 
     Yesterday Audre came to church and went to young women and everything and she loved it!! She told us how good of a day she had and how much she loved being at church and around Mormons.  We also saw Jia yesterday and for a while we were stuck as to what to teach her because she doesn't have any Christian background but we decided to just start with the Restoration and Prayer so we will see how that went next time we see her.  
     Ken has been super hard to meet with lately which is frustrating... but he said he could meet on Wednesday so that's good! Shannon's phone has been broken and she has had to work but she still wants to meet with us.
     This morning I was reading the Joy of Womanhood by Sis. Nadauld and a couple things stood out to me that I really like!!! She talks about how we should "celebrate the fact that girls are different from boys".  I just liked that a lot! I think with all the feminist women these days in the church they want to be treated like the men but they forget that we are different and there's a reason for that! Plus... have you ever noticed that feminists look like men...? Like... if you want to be treated equally than at least try to look feminine.  Sorry I kinda have a rant about all those women.  I just don't feel like they get it! 
     Anyway, that's pretty much my week! I hope you all have a super fabulous week and day!!! I MISS YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH AND I LOVE YOU BUNCHES AND BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hoppy Easter!

You have NO idea how much Taylor does not like chili or anything with beans in it. She's a pretty good sport! Enjoy--

Hey Family!!!!
     Thanks so much for your emails - it was so great to hear from you!! I'm glad you had fun in New York too.  We got transfer calls on Saturday and I'm staying in Fenton with Sister Scott!!! YAY!!! So every day before Easter I was reading the little messages Mom sent me and they were so interesting!!!! HOLY COW I don't know why but I am super interested in Pilate now.  Like I want to learn more about him.  He totally knew Jesus was innocent and he even gave the people the opportunity to save him over Barabas which he thought would be a no brainer to choose Barabbas but they DIDN'T.  Crazy! Also, the fact that he didn't change the sign over the cross is interesting to me.  ALSO, okay, so in the Ensign this month there's an article about theEaster story with the Joseph Smith Translations added in and after Jesus is resurrected and appears to Mary, in the Bible He says "touch me not" but with the Joseph Smith Translation it says "hold me not".  Cool right? I think it kinda puts a different meaning to it but I guess no one really knows!
     Also! Okay, so yesterday, we were talking to someones Mom in our ward, Sandy, that was visiting them for Easter and she lives in the Tulsa mission boundaries and their mission president there challenged all the missionaries to get 77 lessons in 1 WEEK.  That included investigators, less actives, and active members.  So the sisters in the Sandy's ward planned with the women in the ward and got 88 lessons in 1 week.  How cool is that?? So basically that got Sister Scott and I way excited and we want to do something like that! So we are going to do a trial run this week and see how many lessons we can get on our own without asking the ward for a lot of help yet.  And then, towards the end of the transfer we are going to try and basically go on splits all day every day and visit as many people as we can and get as many lessons as we can!
     Anyway, I will tell you about my week now! So basically, this week, none of our investigators were really able to meet with us and that gets kinda frustrating sometimes.  But on Tuesday, I was on exchanges with Sister Leavitt (she's the one I met at Brighton Beehive camp!) and we were at a members home for dinner and we were talking about the Plan of Salvation and Sister Baker said "you can live a celestial life right now by having a celestial home.  Why would you expect to live there if you are only living a telestial life now?" I thought that was a really good thought!
     Friday we tracted a little bit in the morning and almost every single person we talked to either grew up with Mormon neighbors, or had Mormon friends, or had some connection with Mormons but none of them really wanted to learn more about them.  Sometimes it would be nice to force people to want to learn!
     Saturday was pretty much full of trying to visit potential and former investigators and current investigators and no one was home or answering.  We were able to meet with Virginia though!! We basically talked about church the majority of the time and talked about how it would personally benefit her.  That night, our ward had a chili cook off and ping pong tournament and guess who were the chili judges? Yep that would be the missionaries! (You all know my love for chili...) It really wasn't that bad actually haha - I really like white chicken chili though!!! There's this guy in our ward who is a professional chef and he brought 2 different chilis that like are "known" for being super hot and since we were the judges... we had to try them! Holy cow they were so spicy!!!! Like my whole mouth was tingling for like 15 minutes. Not cool.  
     Sunday was Easter!!! I am the current choir pianist for the ward so we had choir practice in the morning and then guess who came to church?? Joe and Virginia!!! I think they both really liked it too!! Joe was like nodding whenever he would agree with something someone would say and I'm pretty sure Virginia started crying.  We had Easter dinner at the Allred's and they are so cool! They are the ones that introduced us to Joe.  Sister Allred's mom lives in Hurricane.  Anyway, it was definitely the most interesting Easter dinner I have ever had haha.  We had pizza casserole for dinner and lemon meringue pie with ice cream for dessert.  Like it was super delicious but just not your typical Easter dinner haha.  The Allreds are for real one of my favorite families here though - they are so cool.  BUT okay, they have these brand new baby chicks in the wreath on their door! I sent you some pictures and they are the cutest things ever!!! Well actually they are ugly but I haven't ever seen baby chicks that were THAT new.  At one point, all 5 of their heads were poking up with their mouths open and it was so cute.  Anyway, last night we visited with a former investigator, Audre.  She is 17 and knows the church is true but her parents wont let her get baptized so she is basically waiting until she goes to college in June or July to get baptized.  We are just going to try and meet with her more regularly until she goes to college just so that she's all ready! She loves Mormons though and it's so cool! She was talking about general conference and how after conference was over she was looking at pinterest and was like "you just scroll through pinterest and see all the hipster general conference quotes and they are all pretty much by president uCHtdorf." It was hilarious just cause she didn't know how to say his name.  She's amazing though!
     Anyway, that's pretty much it! I hope you all have a super fabulous week and day!!!  I MISS YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH AND I LOVE YOU BUNCHES AND BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

Hey Family!!!!
     Thanks for your emails!! I loved reading them! Wasn't conference like AMAZING??? Ever since last conference when I learned that they aren't assigned topics and that they come up with their own topics, I think it's really interesting how there tends to be "themes" throughout conference and how they speak about similar topics.  Obviously it's important! I felt like there were so many messages directed to the youth and that was so cool.  There was a lot about Christ like love, obedience, and just the basic gospel truths.  It was so good!!!! Oh also! There were a few talks about how important it is that we defend our beliefs.  Here's some other things that stood out to me
      Elder Anderson: talked about how the way you feel in the temple is a pattern of how to live your own life - so true!
     President Eyring: Every day and every hour you have the opportunity to KEEP a covenant.
     Robert D. Hales: Why do any of us choose to be disobedient when we know the eternal consequences? (something to think about).
     W. Craig Zwick: Words that can be firm in information can be made soft.  I liked that because even when you are frustrated or upset, there are ways to word things or ways to not raise your voice that can completely change the situation. 
     M Russell Ballard: Hahahaha his missionary/meeting his wife story was hilarious!!
     Gary E. Stevenson: LOVED THIS ONE! I liked how he talked about how we have years or preparation all for a "four minute performance".  And I also liked when he quoted the olympic athlete when she was like "I want my fellow competitors to do their best too!" And then he was like... This is YOUR 4 minutes.  SO GOOD!
     Pres. Monson: Don't have the regret of having a second chance to be kind.
     Hahaha I don't know why buta when Marcos Aidukaitis was like "one should not roam through garbage" I couldn't stop laughing! I think it was just how he said it.  Basically, conference was just so good!!! And guess what? We were watching it at the same time!!! Guess what else? Ken and John both came!!!! Ken is totally already Mormon, he acts like one and since his Dad was Mormon he is familiar with some of the phrases and words we use and he's just great!! He's like a hipster grandpa haha.  Anyway, I guess I will tell you about my week now!
     Last Monday we went roller blading and... ummm.. it's hard.  I didn't fall but it's really hard to get the motions down! So we pretty much just probably looked like we were walking with roller blades on.  It's a pretty good work out though! Ken texted us Monday afternoon just to tell us he had read and prayed that morning.  We also had a lesson with John and like he's progressing but we just get a weird feeling around him so we are going to bring a member to lessons with us from now on. 
     Tuesday we had president interviews and district meeting and we played the game head bands and we used Book of Mormon characters and you can only ask yes or no characters and on Sis. Scott's forehead I put "just say no every time" and it was hilarious! Then we had a lesson with Ken and he is basically amazing!!! Like seriously.  He is starting to make all of these connections with Mormons in his life over the past few years and doesn't think it's just a coincidence.  He said he feels good about what he is learning so far and he is reading the Book of Mormon and like actually comprehending it and applying it to him! He's so cool.  And he's really funny. 
     Wednesday I was on exchanges in the Oakville sisters area and it was really neat.  We decided to visit a less active member who they hadn't met yet and we went there and she told us about herself and that she was addicted to drugs, alcohol, etc.  And she was trying to do better but she had had a really bad week and that just minutes before we came over she was about to leave to go get high and she kept saying "So I find it really weird that you came over tonight..." It's just cool that we went there when we did! It was so sad though just to hear about her life. 
     Thursday morning at like 5:30 the tornado alarms start going off and there was a ton of rain, thunder, and lightning and I was still with Sister Barret on exchanges and I feel like I'm kinda desensitized to them now so I was just like ignoring them and trying to go back to sleep and Sister Barret hasn't ever been here for tornado season so the next morning I felt super bad cause I'm sure she was nervous and I was just like trying to go back to sleep! Anyway, it rained like crazy all day and then that night there were multiple tornado alarms and warnings and watches and the sirens were going off multiple times but like Sis. Scott and I still had things to do haha.  So we were out driving and it was like 8:30 and the tornado sirens were going off but like it wasn't for Fenton and then we get a text that was like "take shelter - NOW!" from the local weather station but like members of our ward told us it was for a different city still (I'm telling you, like the tornado alarms hardly phase me - you would think differently right?).  Anyway, the whole situation that night just made us laugh. 
     Friday we were FINALLY able to see Shannon again! I was nervous that she was avoiding us but she wasn't and we were able to set up a lesson with her for this week.  Afterwards we were also able to finally see Virginia and I thought she was avoiding us too but we got there and she had read the introduction, the testimonies, and started Nephi and read somewhere in the introduction that there was a Joseph Smith History so we left and copied that for her and brought it over and she is really interested in reading that as well as getting her son involved in the church! That night we saw Teena LaRoue (a less active) and it made me so sad.  We have been visiting her every week and she has been making so much progress and we were going over there to talk about the temple so that she could start preparing to go and we get there and she was like "I'm not going back to church anymore" and basically I guess the Bishop made her feel bad about a food order and her feelings were pretty hurt.  We watched the talk "Come Join with Us" by Uchtdorf and talked about how the church is perfect but it's run by imperfect people.  I hope she is able to forgive him though and come back. 
     Saturday we watched conference - yay!!!! Afterwards, we visited this lady the Elders tracted into and she lives in our area.  Her name is Jia and she is from China and she is seriously amazing!!! Oh my gosh.  She didn't grow up Christian so the idea of a God to her is new but she believes there might be a God.  She was asking us how she can find out for herself and so we taught her how to pray and then she prayed right then and there and told us that was the first time she prayed ever! We asked her how she felt and she said she felt happy and cared for.  You could like feel God's love for her - she was so cool!!
     Anyway, that was pretty much my week! Today we have zone pday so we are going to have an Easter egg hunt and then we are watching Ephraims Rescue.  Once again, conference was amazing!!! I feel like President Packer and Monsons testimonies of the Savior were so strong and powerful.  Also, Packer and Hales are looking soo old!!
     Anyway, I hope you all have a super fabulous day and week!!!!  I MISS YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH AND I LOVE YOU BUNCHES AND BUNCHES AND BUNCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!